Some days I like to search Pinterest for marriage advice. Have you ever done that before? Pinterest has sort-of become like a Google type search engine these days and you can find just about anything there!
However, some of what I come across I’m not a big fan of. For instance, a post called 16 Ways She Botched Our Marriage, some wildly popular article a guy wrote after he got divorced. I don’t even want to give it any link juice, but needless to say, it was pretty ridiculous.
So I got to thinking that since we’re approaching Valentine’s Day, I wanted to encourage you with some ways that you can fight for your marriage. Previously I’ve written about how to rekindle the romance in marriage and how to keep the spark alive in the babymaking years, but this year I want to focus on how we can guard our marriages by the grace of God!
Isn’t it an encouragement to know that God is for your marriage? When Kirk and I became man and wife, our life together became a special part of a covenant that is blessed by the Lord and a three-part relationship:
“And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
Here are several suggestions and tips that we have found helpful in arming our marriage against the powers that threaten to destroy our relationship or convince us that our commitment doesn’t really matter. Some of them are very basic, but the later suggestions delve into some serious issues that we can address as married couples.
21 Ways to Guard Your Marriage
1. Make a commitment to tell each other “I love you” at least twice a day.
2. Send your husband a romantic text or email over the noon hour or another time he needs a pick me up (it’s likely he’ll return the favor, but if he doesn’t, that may not be his strong suit, so don’t be discouraged).
3. Go on a date. Or stay in for a date!
4. Read Scripture together. Just start simply with going through a book of the Bible, reading a few verses and chatting about the passage.
6. Have an accountability couple.
7. Have an accountability partner of the same gender and encourage your husband to do the same. Use this with caution, choosing someone like a close friend or family member you feel shares the same views you do on marriage. This isn’t to be a “confidant” to whom you gripe about your marriage, but an opportunity to have “iron sharpen iron”.
8. Pray together for your marriage. Ask God to help you fight the schemes of the devil and strengthen your bond.
9. Pray for your husband. I’ll soon be coming out with a prayer calendar with Scriptures you can pray for your husband each day!
10. Hash things out. I mean that! Talk! But first, learn your triggers and only have those tough conversations when you aren’t likely to lose your cool.
11. Ask each other, “what is one thing I could do better in our marriage?” Yes, this will be difficult and likely hard to swallow when you hear the answer (at least for someone like me who thinks she’s doing pretty well, ha ha!) but it really is great to hear constructive suggestions from your spouse. My husband and I have asked each other this question and have committed to being graceful with each other but also to helping each other improve in certain areas.
12. Do lots of things together. Don’t always go your separate ways. Evaluate the events going on in your family’s life and see if there is something you can cut back so that you are able to spend more time with your husband an children, forming family cohesiveness in this fast-paced world that is constantly pulling families apart for separate activities.
13. Stay home. This sort of relates to #12. I’m not talking about being a stay-at-home mom, although that’s something I enjoy as well, but I am actually referring to staying at home at night as often as possible.
Resisting the urge to run out to do errands and have some alone time immediately after we get the kids fed and into bed has been a tough thing for me, because after being at home all day with the kids I really want to get out and be “productive”! But I’ve found that my husband enjoys not only being at home after a long day, but being at home WITH me. This isn’t to say I can’t ever go out by myself at night but that I no longer make a habit of it. It has done wonderful things for our marriage relationship.
14. Go to church together (and Bible study too!). This might seem like an obvious tip, but I know that sometimes it’s tempting to have one spouse stay home with the wiggly baby or squirrely children and the other to go and grow spiritually. But attending worship together is really another huge part of strengthening the cohesiveness in your marriage, even when it’s a challenge. You are making that effort, making it a priority and God will bless that because of His goodness!
15. Stop emotionally “dating” your friends. At the risk of sounding unkind or just plain weird, I want to share with you that I believe one of the greatest foes of a marriage is neglecting to make your husband your biggest confidant.
About a week ago, I found myself thinking that I’d rather talk to another woman about things that are bothering me because friends are more sensitive and understand me better than my husband. While that factually is sometimes true, the issue with this begins if I start confiding in my friends who are women the very private and emotional thoughts I am having to the exclusion of sharing those same things with my husband.
16. Allow access to each other’s social media. Kirk and I have each other’s passwords and he and I will check each other’s Facebook and email. Be cautious about “hiding” things from your husband.
17. Go to bed at the same time. While this doesn’t happen every single night, I’d say we go to bed together 90% of the time.
18. Purposefully make time for intimacy. Yep, we have to loosely schedule our times of romance–we have four children, after all! If you are struggling with this area of marriage, as we have from time to time, a helpful book I recommend is 31 Days to Great Sex by Sheila Way Gregoire. I have also heard good things about No More Headaches by Dr. Juli Slattery.
19. Go to a marriage retreat. If your husband doesn’t want to do this, don’t push it, but do pray about the opportunity!
20. Teach your kids what marriage is all about. When we are intentional about implementing many of these ideas, we show our children what a Christian marriage looks like–not a picture of perfection, but of purposeful progress.
21. Believe in God’s promises for your marriage! Scripture has some beautiful things to say about marriage and next week I’m excited to bring you a post sharing 7 promises God gives in the Bible that apply to this covenant relationship!